Exeter, Devon UK • Feb 24, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Arts & Lit Winter Art Spotlight

Winter Art Spotlight

Antonella Persa discusses her top three artworks for the season.
3 mins read
Written by
Image: Viggo Johansen’s Silent Night, Emily Darling via Flickr

Art is subjective. There’s no one way to look at art, there’s no one way to interpret art, and there’s no one way to understand art. People may go to art museums for different reasons, but there seems to be one common factor: how it makes you feel. 

Robin Williams said it best in Good Will Hunting: “If I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written… but you’ve never actually stood [in the Sistine Chapel] and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that.” So, to warm the hearts and homes, here is a yuletide selection of holiday artwork I recommend taking a look at. 

One of Caspar David Friedrich’s most famous works is Winter Landscape. The scene depicts a few trees in the middle of a blanket of snow, the largest one bearing a holy cross that a man against a rock is praying to. The shadowy figure of a church is visible in the background, and what appear to be crutches are scattered near the tree (Friedrich was known for his allegorical landscapes). Painted in cool, muted tones, this piece seems to emphasise human resilience, as well as nature’s grandeur and the importance of hope. 

this piece seems to emphasise human resilience, as well as nature’s grandeur and the importance of hope

Perhaps on a cheerier note, Viggo Johansen’s Silent Night paints a family holding hands around a Christmas tree, seemingly singing and dancing. There’s a striking contrast between the dullness and darkness of the surrounding room and the tree, from which a warm, colourful glow brings light to the painting. Between the presents under the tree and the mother looking down at her child, love radiates from the canvas and onto the eyes of observers. 

And last, but most certainly not least, Claude Monet’s Snow Scene at Argenteuil is one of his many pieces showing a snowed-over version of his home commune. This painting, made in cool-toned oil paints, shows a boulevard on which there is a noticeable lack of details, other than the bundled-up couple walking. Although intended to convey a bleak overcast afternoon, the frosty atmosphere of the piece does such an excellent conveying of a winter’s day that it’s hard to not feel some warmth from the holiday season. 

Since it’s only snowed in Exeter once, sometimes a visual aid to remind us that the holidays are right around the corner can help get us into that festive spirit, and these beautiful paintings seem to know exactly how to do just that.

You may also like

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign Up for Our Newsletter